One Scottish teacher who has been doing volunteer work in Malawi for the past 11 months is sharply critical of westerners "parachuting in for a few days, lecturing Malawians on what they need, then abandoning ship".
Tina Deans, a teacher at Carnwath primary in South Lanarkshire, has been keeping an online diary of her life and work in Malawi which makes a passionate case for engagement with the country's schools in a way that is sustainable. "We now have nine schools linked to schools in Scotland and another five potential partnerships," she reports. "I just need interest from schools at home to link them - hint, hint.
"The linked schools here cheered when I told them they had a partner in Scotland and the headteachers made big speeches. The schools are now busy drawing pictures and writing letters. It means more to them than we could ever imagine."
Ms Deans has faced a range of unusual challenges apart from teacher training and development, managing classes of 140 children and attending HIV meetings - including a scorpion and a plague of ants in her kitchen.
Readers can be virtually there with Tina Deans by visiting www.tinasinmalawi.co.uk.